A Local Holiday Gift Guide

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Whether you are counting your blessings, regrets, hopes, wishes or calories – tis the season for lists – we’re making lists, checking them twice and wondering where we misplaced them. If you’ve found yourself without a gift list a week before Santa’s scheduled to arrive, here is a local list of my favorite things. Cue the Oprah!?

A wise woman once told me that gifts are best when recyclable or consumable. When I look back, indeed the best gifts throughout my life have not been first-generation Palm Pilots or Furbees but handwritten IOUs from my late Grandmother for quail dinners around the table with family, hugs and kisses, and homemade apple pies.

I’m of the belief that most of the people in my life buy things for themselves when they need or want them. To me, the best gifts come in experiences – meals shared around a table, trips taken near or far, and words and thoughts exchanged.

So here I propose a local, recyclable, and consumable list of holiday gifts: 

  1. For the friend who thinks a holiday party consists of a bowl of cashews and a bottle of wine – embrace it and give a gift card to our locally-grown grocer, The Fresh Market. Perhaps they’ll surprise you with a taste of cheese from their delicious selection.
  2. For the transplant, nothing beats an authentic Italian Salami and Cheese Gift Box from Giacomo’s. I recommend the hot sopressata and locatelli cheese.
  3. A bottle of White Truffle Olive Oil from the North Carolina owned MidTown Olive Press. A drizzle of this divine oil will turn any popcorn into a fabulous hors d’oeuvre.
  4. Are your friends more sweet or spicy? Spice up a friend’s life with a personalized selection of spices from Savory Spice Shop.
  5. A date to Zeto’s Wine downtown complete with a Zeto VinoMatic Card for a wine tasting from their “wine wall.”
  6. What do you do for the vegetarians, pescatarians, paleo and gluten free? A membership to Deep Roots Market Co-Op will set them free to indulge for a lifetime.
  7. For the adventurer, nothing beats a local international exploration to Super G Mart or Li Ming’s Global Mart. Once you’ve walked the stores and gazed longingly into the eyes of a dried squid – stop by Banh Mi Saigon Sandwiches & Bakery for a snack to keep up your stamina.
  8. Continue your foodie education with an adult or children’s cooking lesson at the Edible Schoolyard. Learn to make foods from seed to table from their vast roster of local culinary educators.
  9. A selection of sweet and savory goat cheeses from the local Goat Lady Dairy. No one can turn down one of their signature chocolate goat cheese truffles.
  10. One with nature? How about a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription from one of our many local farms or a plot of land at a community garden?
  11. The workaholic won’t start 2014 without a good caffeine buzz. How about a pound of local beans from Piedmont Coffee Roasters or a gift card to their favorite local coffee house?
  12. With a growing economy of craft beers, hop on over for a date to Bestway’s Beer Wall for shop til you drop exploration.

This is just a sample of the many savory treats and experiences you can consider gifting this season. Most importantly, keep it personal, consumable and most importantly, local. They’ll sure to remember it.

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